Lucius Shepard is a grand master of dark fantasy, famed for his baroque yet utterly contemporary visions of existential subversion and hallucinatory collapse. In Dagger Key, his fifth major story collection, Shepard confronts hard-bitten loners and self-deceiving operators with the shadowy emptiness within themselves and the insinuating darkness without, to ends sardonic and terrifying. The stories in this book, including six novellas, are:
“Stars Seen Through Stone” – in a small Pennsylvania town, mediocrity suddenly blossoms into genius; but at what terrible cost?
“Emerald Street Expansions” – in near-future Seattle, echoes of the life of a medieval French poet hint at either reincarnation or a dire conspiracy.
“Limbo” – a retired criminal on the run from the Mafia encounters ghosts, and much worse, on the shores of a haunted lake.
“Liar’s House” – in the grip of the legendary dragon Griaule, destiny is a treacherous and transformative thing.
“Dead Monty” – a small-time New Orleans criminal ventures outside his proper territory, and poker and voudoun conspire to bring him down.
“Dinner at Baldassaro’s” – a gang of immortals debates the future in an Italian resort, only for events to outrun any of their expectations.
“Abimagique” – a glib college loser falls in love with a witch, becoming an involuntary part of a world-saving – or world-destroying – magical ritual.
“The Lepidopertrist” – a small boy on a Caribbean island witnesses the creation of preternatural beings by a Yankee wizard…
“Dagger Key” – off the coast of Belize, the ghost of a famous pirate seems to control a spiral of murder and intrigue; or is someone else responsible?
Jake Woods, ex-cop and criminal justice professor, is pulled into danger when investigating the disappearance of a friend’s son. Attempting to help, he uncovers a similar case in New York City, where Lydia Johanssen is going through hell because her sixteen-year-old son has vanished. Each disappeared after receiving an anonymous gift: ‘Limbo’, a violent, bestselling computer game.
Jake identifies with Lydia’s plight. But his involvement brings great peril. This is the work of a kidnapper for whom the margins between reality and fantasy have blurred beyond recognition. To him, it’s all just a game …
‘Spine-chilling’ Publishing News
A collection of Walter Tevis’s short fiction, containing:
Far From Home
The Other End of the Line
The Big Bounce
The Ifth of Oofth
The Scholar’s Disciple
Far From Home
Close To Home
A Visit From Mother
The Apotheosis of Myra
Out of Luck
Sitting In Limbo
This is an essential collection from the author of THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, THE HUSTLER and THE COLOUR OF MONEY.
In a time of trouble, in a state of confusion, in a maze of mystery, in the Britain of the 1980s…
It could happen to anyone. And it has happened to Carpenter. Now his only chance is to escape. Because Carpenter has woken up in Limbo where everything is familiar, everything is different – and everything is to be discovered.
In the aftermath of an atomic war, a new international movement of pacifism has arisen. Multitudes of young men have chosen to curb their aggressive instincts through voluntary amputation – disarmament in its most literal sense.
Those who have undergone this procedure are highly esteemed in the new society. But they have a problem – their prosthetics require a rare metal to function, and international tensions are rising over which countries get the right to mine it . . .
Travelt – a corporate flunkey at DynaZauber Inc. – is dead, but his prowler is still stalking the Wedge. Harrisch needs the prowler back, before it spews DynaZauber’s secrets to the enemy.
When Harrisch approaches ex-agent McNihil with the Travelt case. McNihil’s every nerve ending screams no – even though the payout might buy his late wife out of limbo. His days in the Wedge are over – too many ghosts, too many nightmares. But Harrisch won’t take no for an answer.
NOIR is a brilliantly atmospheric thriller, set in a Los Angeles that stands at the centre of an urban sprawl spanning half the globe. Where the haves live in splendour and the have-nots scrabble in the dark. Where the dead live on until their debts are paid.
Three travellers find six very different worlds await their choice – if they have the courage to leave Eden…
On awakening in an idyllic tropical paradise, Rex is disoriented and possibly afflicted with amnesia. He knows his name, but the particulars are curiously missing. He spends his first week exploring, and discovers that his Eden-like paradise is surrounded by a huge unscalable wall 50 miles in circumference. Furthermore, there are six gateways at roughly equal intervals, but there is no way to climb up there and see where they go…
On several settled worlds of the Earth Confederation, towns had been utterly destroyed by attacking alien vessels – exploded into flaming ruin, and fleeing people reduced to smears of blood and bone.
And so they sent for Captain Kurt Varl, the only man to have fought an alien ship and destroyed it – the only survivor from his crew of thirty souls. And now he would have to lead another ship and crew into battle, knowing that as well as the alien raiders he faced the things that lurked in limbo, existing in four dimensions and capable of transforming humans into things of screaming horror…
Someone was tampering with time, altering the past to eliminate the present, fading people out of existence into a timeless limbo.
One of the victims was Angelina, the lovely, lethal wife of James Bolivar di Griz – better known as the Stainless Steel Rat. That put Slippery Jim on the trail of the villains, a trail that went back to 1984 and an ancient nation called the United States of America. The Stainless Steel Rat was determined to rescue his wife. And before he was through he’d thrown dozens of centuries through time in both directions. But then he didn’t have much choice: to save Angelina he had to save the world. Again.
He was a mysterious cosmic presence who came out of nowhere with the incredible promise to free the dying planet.
Earth’s future is one of peace. There are no more wars, nuclear weapons are outlawed, and technology is raising mankind to new heights. Many cities are now underground. Alain von Bek is a bastard of distinguished lineage working an unassuming job with city administration in the underground city of Switzerland. But with the appearance of a massive clownish figure calling himself the Fireclown, Alain’s life and the course of Earth’s future are both about to change.
The Fireclown claims to hold the keys to mankind’s salvation. He carries an undeniable charisma that is winning him followers, chief among them Helen Curtis, Alain’s cousin and former lover, not to mention serious candidate in the next presidential election. But there are also those who mistrust the Fireclown. At the forefront of this opposition is Minister Simon von Bek, Alain’s grandfather, and Helen’s chief competition in the forthcoming election.
Gradually, Alain finds himself sucked into a game of chess between these three polarizing forces, but each new revelation raises new questions, about his past and that of the world’s future. He will have to put his trust in someone, and time is running out-for him and the world.